With Dwyane Wade set to face the Miami Heat for the first time in his illustrious career tonight, the shooting guard revealed he feels no ill contempt towards Pat Riley over his exit.
Wade spent thirteen seasons on South Beach after being a member of the famous Draft Class of 2003, along with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, missing the playoffs just once in 2008 – a season where he missed 31 games.
After failing to negotiate a new deal in the summer – with Riley unable to give Wade the max deal he was looking for, despite previously taking numerous pay cuts – the ex ‘Heat Lifer’ returned home with the Chicago Bulls. They have started the season with a 4-4 record.
Despite the cold nature of his departure, Wade says he understands it’s just business and by no means was the decision a personal one.
“I thought it was an opportunity I would be there forever, but s–t happens. And when s–t happens, you gotta be prepared to (move on). I found out very quickly that this is a business,” he told CSNChicago.com.
Wade will arguably be remembered as the greatest player in the history of the Miami Heat franchise, winning three NBA Championships and was a member of the famous ‘big three’ along with LeBron and Bosh.
The 34-year-old was popular and likeable character to all who were associated with the Heat and says he is still in touch with people at the franchise – except for Riley.
“I’ve kept in touch from everybody there besides Pat. From the owners on down,” Wade added. “It’s nothing but respect, and I have no hard feelings. I understand what Pat is, he’s a competitor. I’ve been knowing him for 13 years so I expect no different.
“People might not believe me, but I have no hard feelings toward Pat. Everything happened the way it was supposed to happen, everything happens for a reason, so I’m fine.”
It was said to be a lack of communication which led to Wade’s departure, with the 12-time NBA All-Star saying: “That’s it. When you get respect, that’s what you get back. I’ve given nothing but respect. I feel like a lot of things in this world and this league are mishandled from the notion of communication. That’s it.
“At the end of the day, I talked to those guys and I told them, ‘It’s free agency. I understand y’all have a job to do, and I have a job to do as well.’ I let it be known I was going to be a free agent and I wasn’t waiting by the phone for them to call me.”